While the advancement of DevOps methodology remains fairly nascent for many organizations, an ever-expanding class of leading practitioners are evolving a wide range of related best practices.
Beyond the well-worn concept of “unicorns” – the scant few organizations that stand as mythical examples of DevOps nirvana – this broader set of early adopters have begun to pull back the curtain on their efforts, lending further detail to the strategies that have bred this current model for success.
Last week, industry analysts Freeform Dynamics published valuable research that highlights the ongoing work of such DevOps innovators, dubbed as “Digital Disrupters” for their accomplishments in pursuing larger digital transformation. The report “Exploiting the Software Advantage” – sponsored by CA Technologies, outlines a critical set of initiatives crucial to navigating the DevOps landscape.
What are the specific hallmarks of those organizations leading the charge? Where are others struggling to catch-up? Many of the Freeform Dynamics survey results, based on 1442 respondents, reaffirm widespread DevOps observations, while other findings serve to shed new light, including:
- Everyone builds software: Perception is, in fact, reality and to deeply engrain digital transformation, Digital Disruptors are increasingly identifying with this mantra. While 95% of leaders have committed to becoming more app-centric, only 51% of mainstream organizations have adopted this persona. Similarly, 84% of Disruptors directly identify as “software companies”, regardless of industry, compared to 40% among the masses.
- Transformation is required: This point may seem obvious, but it certainly bears repeating. A whopping 92% of leaders have actively moved to break down traditional silos between Dev and Ops, with 51% of those organizations having already completed this work. By comparison, only 18% of mainstream organizations claim to have done the same, supported by 59% who at least share this more collaborative DevOps vision.
- Commitment is critical: This may also seem like a no-brainer, but the numbers bear out this requirement. Some 77% of Disruptors have agile development methodologies in place, with 70% having “broadly” implemented DevOps activities. For mainstream organizations, these metrics rate at only 31% and 21%, respectively; leaders are going all-in and appreciating the benefits, and those that follow will need to do the same.
- Experimentation is omnipresent: To garner the benefits of continuous delivery, embracing trial and error is a must. Among Disruptors, 93% recognized the need to “experiment and fail quickly on the road to success”, compared to only 58% of mainstream organizations. Some 95% of leaders have already shifted from fixed product cycles to continuous innovation, while only 56% of the mainstream have made this leap.
- APIs are everywhere: Ubiquitous integration, both in-house and in connecting to third parties, has only increased emphasis on the API. Disruptors are resoundingly focused on API management, with 68% using APIs to integrate third party services into their applications, and 66% to offer external access to systems and data. Mainstream peers compare at only 26% and 24%, respectively, denoting a sizable API management gap.
These are only a handful of the most dramatic and obvious areas where DevOps advocates have clearly re-architected their approach, separating themselves from those organizations that have yet to go all-in; it doesn’t stop there.
As highlighted in the research, other areas of differentiation and dichotomy include cross-functional alignment, emphasis on digital channels, use of digital to drive core business efficiency, and even funding of digital investments.
Beyond these key philosophical milestones that litter the pathway to DevOps success, the survey also highlights the vast array of strategic goals that these organizations have sought to accomplish. The results spotlight the massive range of significant business benefits that practitioners believe DevOps can deliver.
Leading use cases include:
- Improved customer satisfaction (49%)
- Better workforce productivity (44%)
- Improved customer experience (41%)
- Improved competitive differentiation (38%)
- Better agility / speed-to-market (37%)
- Opening up of new markets (35%)
- Creation of new business models (30%)
- Creation of new routes to market (26%)
If one were to take those outcomes out of context, unrelated to the impact of DevOps, it’s fair to say that they read like a generic list of leading business initiatives – further underlining the movement’s overall relevance.
That’s not to say this is all accomplished easily. Report respondents detail hard won victories that required significant time and investment to achieve all this DevOps-driven advancement. After all, the notion of “disruption” doesn’t exactly evoke images of ease or comfort.
Click here to read the report for yourself – there’s a lot more to be considered. Namely, how well your organization measures up in affecting digital transformation in its own right, and where it can take steps to move forward.